The Cavaliers have had a dud of an offseason.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert ousted general manager David Griffin just before the draft and didn’t offer enough money to lure Chauncey Billups as a replacement. Cleveland still hasn’t named a long-term front-office leader.
In the meantime, the Cavaliers have made a few low-key moves – signing Jose Calderon, Jeff Green and Cedi Osman and re-signing Kyle Korver. They reportedly won’t re-sign James Jones. They didn’t get Jamal Crawford or trade for Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
LeBron James noticed.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:
LeBron James, the NBA’s most powerful player and biggest star who brought the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA championship, is concerned about the Cavaliers’ offseason, a person close to the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
Expecting an aggressive offseason approach that would close the gap on the champion Golden State Warriors, James soon found his anticipation and optimism diminished after Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert dismantled the front office, declining days before the draft and free agency to bring back general manager David Griffin and vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden.
Gilbert’s decision left the Cavs without the franchise’s top two front-office execs at a critical time, and it left James frustrated and concerned about the team’s ability to put together a roster that can better compete with Golden State, the person with direct knowledge of James’ thinking told USA TODAY Sports.
So, Los Angeles, huh?
LeBron is not shy about pressuring Gilbert. The Cavs’ payroll is high, but the roster lags well behind the Warriors. Cleveland hasn’t used its full mid-level exception, and without someone authorized to take long-term control of the front office, nobody has the vision to go after the league’s available stars like Butler and George. With the Cavaliers’ championship window still open, this was a terrible time to stall.
And, of course, LeBron can be a free agent next summer. There’s still time to make amends and/or hope the Lakers look less appealing than they do on paper now, though others suitors will race out of the woodwork if LeBron shows any inclination of leaving.
It seems the Cavs are doing a decent job of alienating their superstar and giving other teams hope.
A year ago, Jeff Green bet on himself in free agency. In a cash-rich market, he took a one-year, $15 million deal with the Orlando — do well and he would earn a big multi-year deal on the open market this summer.
Green’s roll of the dice came up snake eyes. He struggled in Orlando on both ends of the court.
Green has landed on his feet, reportedly reaching a one-year deal with the Cavaliers, reports Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today.
LeBron James apparently did a little recruiting here.
This is likely a one-year deal for the minimum — the Cavaliers are in the luxury tax and face the repeater tax, so they have to pay $4.25 in tax for every dollar they spend on Green (yes, $5.25 total). The Cavaliers are not going to spend big on anyone.
Green was asked to create more on offense in Orlando and that went poorly. Green averaged 9.2 points per game last season but shot 39.4 percent overall and 27.5 from three, plus he’s not much of a defender. Once every few weeks he has an efficient and impressive game, but after eight NBA seasons the book on Green is written, and that inconsistency is just part of who he is. Last season was one of his worst in the NBA.
That said, picking him up is not a bad gamble at this price by the Cavaliers, who will get a guy who can get them a few buckets.
Everyone — even Rob Hennigan — saw this coming.
The underwhelming-turned-embarrassing tenure of the Magic general manager has ended.
John Denton of the team’s official website:
Magic CEO Alex Martins announced the firings of General Manager Rob Hennigan and Assistant GM Scott Perry.
Assistant GM Matt Lloyd, a Magic employee for five years, will serve as the franchise’s interim GM until a full-time successor is chosen. Lloyd, who worked for the Chicago Bulls for 13 years prior to joining the Magic, is expected to be a candidate for the long-term position.
The Magic went 20-62, 23-59, 25-57, 35-47 and 29-53 and missed the playoffs every year under Hennigan, which is bad enough. Compounding problems: None of the first-round picks gained by those poor records — Andrew Nicholson, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, Mario Hezonja — have become stars.
That didn’t stop Hennigan from trying to push in his chips this season. Last summer, he acquired Serge Ibaka (via trade of Victor Oladipo, No. 11 pick and Ersan Ilyasova), Bismack Biyombo (four-year, $72 million contract), Jeff Green (one-year, $15 million contract) and D.J. Augustin (four-year, $29 million contract).
The result? Gordon, Orlando’s most promising player, spent most of the season playing out of position, at small forward rather than power forward. And the Magic kept losing. Hennigan flipped Ibaka to the Raptors for Terrence Ross and a later first-round pick, but the damage was already done.
It’s still not too hard to find someone who still believes in the 35-year-old Hennigan’s acumen. But five years was plenty of time to show it, and he never did.
Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy told Reggie Jackson, “We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio.”
How about for D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green?
Marc Stein of ESPN:
There have to be other pieces involved because the salaries don’t come close enough to matching. But Detroit would have to send more, which is problematic given the other complication:
This would be a terrible trade for the Pistons.
Jackson is younger and more talented than Augustin. Green is a mediocre player who would add marginal value in Detroit, which already has Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris as combo forwards and Jon Leuer as a power forward.
But Van Gundy would be comfortable with Augustin, who previously played for the Pistons. Given that, Augustin might even provide a short-term boost considering Jackson’s struggles since returning from major injury. So, perhaps there’s a deal to be made around these players.
Still, I’d be shocked if, should this trade ever comes to fruition, it doesn’t involve the Magic sending Detroit much more value.
After missing the start of the season due to injury, Jodie Meeks had become a regular part of the rotation in Orlando, giving then 8.9 points per game, shooting 40 percent from three, and providing a veteran presence. His role has grown since Evan Fournier went out injured.
Now Meeks is out injured again and it may well cost him the rest of the season. From the Orlando Magic’s web site:
Orlando Magic guard Jodie Meeks underwent surgery to repair his right thumb this afternoon, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced. He will be out indefinitely and his return to action will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation. Meeks sustained the injury on January 18 @ New Orleans. After conducting a follow-up exam, it was determined that surgery was the proper course of action.
This likely means more Jeff Green and C.J. Wilcox until Fournier returns.
Meeks is making $6.5 million this season and will be a free agent next summer.